I was 19 when I saw the first artichoke in my life ! I was invited to a lunch at a new friend's home, I had met in Italy during vacations with my parents and it turned out that she also lived in Brussels.
What I didn't know was that she came from a very posh family who lived in a very big house, they had a cook, a servant and a nanny.
The dining room was very impressive I had never seen such a huge one with an enormous table. The whole family was sitting around and the starter was served.
An artichoke !
I looked on my plate and found a very strange looking thing with leaves and thought how the heck should I eat that ? With fork and knife ? that was impossible. Besides my plate was a little bowl with a sauce inside. I cross eyed around me and decided to copy the others.They pulled off the leaves dipped it in the sauce and then sucked the end of the leave. I bravely did the same.
When all the leaves were gone, I suddenly faced an obstacle. Hairs !! How could one eat that ?? I pulled out the hairs and dipped them in the sauce and tried to eat them but it really wasn't good.
The kids observed me (my friend had 4 much younger siblings) and started to giggle. The parents smiled and I wondered why. My friend finally told me that I have to cut off the hairs and only eat the heart of the artichoke because that was the best thing on the whole vegetable !
I wasn't embarrassed at all and laughed too and told them that I had been very much surprised that one eats hairs. And indeed the heart was very tasty and together with the sauce was really good.
Now years later when I see my friend we still laugh about my eating of the first artichoke in my life !
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